In addition to the financial pressures every American family faces, the families of active-duty military personnel face the stresses of frequent relocation, deployments and defense budget cuts. A lot of military spouses look for work outside the home that offers them flexibility as well as added income, and often look to launch their own businesses, but need financial help. Public and private agencies exist that offer grant programs to military spouses seeking to start their own businesses.
Military Spouse Business Association
The Military Spouse Business Association sponsors the Red, White & Blue Awards, which offers grants to businesses owned by military families and veterans. The Red, White & Blue Awards are available to all businesses in which a current spouse of any member of the U.S. Armed Forces, or the spouse of a retired or honorably discharged military veteran, has a majority ownership stake. The program offers two $500 grants, two $750 grants and two $1,000 grants per year, with one of each pair awarded to a veteran-owned startup and one to a military-family-owned startup.
National Military Family Association
The National Military Family Association offers a wide range of educational and business grants for military spouses. The group's Financial Counselor Fellowship covers the costs of taking classes offered by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. Grant recipients can also use the funds to take the Accredited Financial Counselor exam -- twice if necessary to pass the exam. After passing the test, the spouse is eligible to work as an Accredited Financial Counselor, either in a financial aid office or as an independent financial adviser.
VetFran Business Grant Fund
The VetFran Business Grant Fund helps veterans and their spouses who are VetFran franchise owners or candidates. These grants, with awards up to $10,000, can be used to purchase equipment, products or services needed to operate the business, but not for compensation or salaries to employees of the business. The application package must include proof of honorable discharge, proof of VetFran franchise ownership, two letters of recommendation and a 500-word essay on how the applicant will use the grant award.
The Corvias Foundation offers the "Our Family Educational Grant," which enables spouses of active-duty military personnel to pursue further education and build on their professional development skills. The grant program offers spouses financial support, education and business networking opportunities. The "Our Family for Families First" Foundation has granted more than $800,000 in educational grants to 163 military spouses from its inception in 2006 to August 2014. In September 2013, the Corvias Foundation sponsored grants for 20 military spouses, each of whom received $5,000 educational grants.